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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  April 15, 2013 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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route of the marathon or focused on certain areas? areas that you are focused on beyond that? >> our focus of the investigation in the area that the governor mentioned ? >> if so, how would dough. >> we're working very closely with the families right now. setting up a location near here that families can come to if they have questions. the mayor's office has fielded many calls of concern. we're going through those right now. >> 9:30 tomorrow morning for the next briefing. >> coming to you tonight from massachusetts general hospital in boston. thanks for being with msnbc tonight. i'm rachel maddow, and this is the rachel maddow show. just wrapping up the latest
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press conference from massachusetts authorities as they try to communicate the most information they can and let people know the latest in this incident. right now the most important bottom line is we know two people confirmed dead and more than 100 confirmed injured. over the course of the next hour, we are going to be speaking with eyewitnesss to today's events. pete williams nbc's justice correspondent is on the line as well. i'm sorry, i said there were two confirmed dead, it's three confirmed dead in the incident now. bill keithing is joining us with and reporters there on scene today. the bottom line is 113 wounded by blasts, at least three people killed. and in boston today, as you know today is the boston marathon, and the boston marathon is held on a state holiday in massachusetts only that's called patriot's day. and that always makes today a different kind of day than the
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rest of the year. but driving through boston tonight to get here to get to mass general, it's eerie. it's eerie in boston tonight that even with all of the security response that we've got right now, there's just nobody out. and obviously people are doing that and staying at home in order to respect the wishes of law enforcement authorities who are telling people essentially to stay out of the way while the investigation continues. as we get further details on the investigation, boston is left to confront the fact that with everything planned, with everything planned in terms of security, with everything planned in terms of making this the megaevent that it is in boston with hundreds of thousands of people coming into the city who aren't familiar with the city, mere for the event, to have a security event like what happened today, is -- it's hard to fathom. it's been hours, but it's hard to fathom.
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boston globe reporter david sable one of the people who's able to join us tonight. he was at scene today when this happened. mr. able, thanks very much for being with us tonight, it's a pleasure to have you here. >> thanks for having me. >> can you tell us where you were today and what you saw. >> sure. i was standing on the finishline taking video of runners as they were coming in. i was about ten feet from the first blast. and -- and i was sitting there in a crouch taking the video when i heard a massive explosion. i saw a plume of white smoke and -- and when that cleared, i just saw the most horrific images i've ever seen, images that will be seared into my mind for a long time. >> is it clear to you -- you
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were so close to the first blast, from what you're describing, is it clear to you how you avoided injury? did it seem like it was a very directional blast? a directional blast where the force all went in one direction and you were lucky enough to be out of its way? >> yeah. i think it was -- it was shaped -- shaped to have a charge that detonated from the curb on the sidewalk into the -- into the sidewalk. thus trying to maximize the number of casualties. on the sidewalk right by the finish line you had hundreds of people on both sides. i have run the boston marathon three times, and i like to describe it as when you cross on to boylston street, that last leg of the marathon, it's like you feel like you're hitting a home run at fenway park because
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the roar is deafening. and the crowd is like ten people deep, often. so whoever did this knew that where they were placing these weapons, these bombs, they knew that they were going to try to maximize their casualties because this is where the crowds republican. >> david in terms of the first blast and then the second blast. it must have been so disor yenting to be so close to the first one. even if it were the noise alone, that's a disor yenting thing, was it clear that there were two separate explosions, or did you think it was a shock wave? >> no it was clear. it sort of felt to me, someone who covered the attacks on september 11th, like, you know, at first, when you heard the first blast before -- before the smoke cleared, and you could
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sort of see the damage, there was this disor yenation that sort of felt like you're not quite sure, and then suddenly when the second blast occurred, it was seven seconds later, it was like when the second plane hit the world trade center, you knew immediately that this was an attack, this was not machinery malfunctioning or something like that. >> david, in terms of having run the marathon, covered it and being there today, is there a visible and sort of palpable security presence at that part of the race and along the race in general? is this the sort of thing where there's a police cordon and it's hard to imagine something like this having gotten through? >> yes and no. there is -- there was an immense police and security presence
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there. police and marathon volunteers line the route. that all said, you know, i think more than a decade after september 11th, 2001, people probably are not thinking about home grown or local terrorism in the same way. and perhaps, you know, this is just purely speculation, that the kind of security that we might have expected after september 11th, we aren't necessarily getting. that all said, you know, there couldn't have been more police officers and security on the scene. >> right. we've seen the rush of first responders -- sir, go ahead. >> sorry, i just want to add. and their presence was felt intensely in the moments after the blast in which they swarmed the scene and, while many people
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fled, they, you know -- while not knowing if there were other bombs, clearly, arguably risked their lives, and were very brave and very amazing the way they carried people to safety as quickly as they could. >> david able, boston globe reporter who was an eye answer, a close eyewitness to the blast today. thank you very much for being with us. i want to give you the latest information on user and where people are being treated and the kind of injuries sustained. the total number of injured that we know at this point is 113. in terms of the way that breaks down, 28 at brigham women's hospital, nine in the operating room, two with limb threatening injuries, they're talking about mostly bone and tissue injuries.
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the age range ranges from teens to mid-60s, eights to ten with are in serious condition, two critical. the most common types of injuries being described there are bone and tissue injuries. now boston children's hospital, this is harder to hear, ten patients as of 8:00 p.m., ranging from good to serious. six patients are children, one is the adult parent of one of the children. there have been no patient deaths among the patients brought to them from the scene. a 14-year-old with a head injury, a 10-year-old with leg trauma, a 9-year-old with leg trauma, 42-year-old parent of a patient is being treated there, 7-year-old boy treated for minor leg injury, a 12-year-old femur fracture, a 2-year-old had a head injury, medical surgical
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icu, three more in god condition. eight of them critical, no fatalities, the rest are being evaluated. at boston medical center, 16 in serious condition. there are nine patients being treated at tufts, 21 at beth israel. boston obviously one of the things that boston is known for, particularly the part of boston i'm in right now is the density of world-class level medical care available in the city and this part of the city and never more fortunate than today. i want to bring in the congressman now for our discussion. thank you for being here. you are new. you are not new to politics. you serve on the homeland security committee? >> that's correct. >> can you shed light on in terms of how this incident
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should be characterized, how we should think of this investigation going forward? >> it's hard to separate yourself from representing boston and being here. the city is just -- has a somberness tonight that i can't remember in a long time. so try to do that as all of us are looking at the family members of now three people that have lost their lives, and i think the number is even 120 now in the number of people that were injured. and you just try and make sense out of something that makes no sense. in terms of what appears to be a terrorist action. and we don't know. i mean, from a homeland security perspective, you look at the symbols. because that's what terrorists try to attack, that's the targets. here we have the marathon, the oldest in the country, one of the largest in the world, an international event attracting almost 100 countries that have runners here. so it's that kind of symbol that
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a terrorist would look at and also it's tax day. it's april 15th, and if it's a domestic terrorist that hates the government and wants to rebel, that's a symbol as well. we'll follow the evidence the way law enforcement do. being a former d.a., you only know what you know. and their sorting those things out. the fusion center here, where the federal law enforcement people work with the tolerate state law enforcement people is one of the finest in the country. it's rated that way. there's no question in my mind that that group added the assets of the entire country that the president is calling on will bring them to justice. there's that level of confidence right now. but it's hard to go there when you're sitting there, and, you know, that people that you know, and people that know other people have been injured in
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this, and this terrible incident, three have lost their lives. it's hard to get past that, now. but the professionals that are doing this are. and they're going to bring them to justice. >> and one of the reasons i wanted to get specific about the details from the hospitals is about while this targeted apparently near the finish line of the marathon, it really did target the bystanders which may explain so many children injured, 2-year-old kids aren't running the marathon. >> usually with family members in the race. so many of those family members are people running for charities, they might have a family member who has cancer, running to raise money for that. and their children and their loved ones are sitting there at the finish line to embrace them after an enormous commitment of time. so -- >> in terms of the type of attack this is, one of the things that's broken late this
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evening. there's reportedly a number of unexploded device was a the event. we don't have the details and locations yet, and they're telling us to proceed with caution in terms of the way we understand the character and how many different events might have been planned in addition to the two explosions happened. >> there are sources that we have had that have told us that there are at least two other bombs that weren't detonated as well. so you can look at the brighter side and say it could have been worse without the medical hospitals that we have so clear, without the triaging that's there for the marathoning. it's small solace to those who lost loved ones and those injured, but it could have been worse. >> as a former d.a., one thing about the unexploded devices in custody, that's very valuable evidence in terms of tracking the types of devices these were.
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and in terms of giving leads for investigative process. >> it is. and the devices that have exploded, they're valuable too in terms of evidence. that kind of forensic evidence. we bring in the best people in the country here in boston. we've got some of the best to begin, people from the fbi, new york, other areas that are specially trained on that. this is an amazing country, and as much as we feel that we're pulled apart tonight, i just think of all those people running shoulder and shoulder. and this city is lifeless tonight. >> yeah. >> but there will be tomorrow, and we're going to be pulling together as a country. and this is a very resilient city as well and we will pull together and help as much as we can the victims, and we're going to make sure that the people who did this are brought to justice. >> congressman, thank you for being with us. appreciate your time.
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thanks for being with us on msnbc. we are able to confirm three dead and more than 110 people injured. the injury numbers at this point, we've heard 113, 120, we are getting continued updates from the hospitals, from the many hospitals close to where i am, mass general, in terms of those treated. as we get more details, this does seem to have mostly hit people who had been gathered on the sidelines, not just passers by, and not just runners, but them people there to cheer on runners approaching the end of the four hour long race. the president today characterizing this as something that the perpetrators of this event will know justice, will know the full weight of justice. a senior white house official after the president's remarks characterizing this as an act of terror. much, frankly, inane political
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discussion about whether everybody is using the right nouns and verbs in talking about this when it is multiple explosions in an american city, whether or not you use the politically correct terminology is beside the point to me. but the president's remarks today will be marked as a benchmark in terms of the american response. i think we've got some of the president's remarks now. >> we still do not know who did this or why. and people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. but make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. and we will find out who did this, we'll find out why they did this. any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice. >> president obama speaking this afternoon at the white house. we're joined now from washington
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by nbc's pete williams, our justice correspondent. what can you tell us in terms of further leads or directions of the investigation at this point? >> one of them is what you were talking to the congressman about. that's really how many were planted and frankly this is all over the map today. the most up to date information that i have tonight is they now believe there were just two devices. now this is very confusing because at least five other packages found on the street were deemed to be suspicious and were zroied. at first the thinking was some of them were actually explosive devices that didn't go off. but, the best information we have tonight is officials believe none of the other packages contained explosives. so that's one thing that they're looking at. secondly, they stress there is no suspect in custody. but we know that they're talking
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to a 20-year-old saudi man here on a student visa, he had burns and was running from the area. he is being questioned, he has denied having anything to do with this. the officials say the two bombs that did go off included other things to multiply the injuries, bbs and ball bearings. it is not a new development, the man convicted of the olympic park bombing in atlanta in 1996 put screws and nails in his bomb. so this is a relatively common thing, unfortunately. investigators are studying surveillance video, they are asking for people in the area if they happened -- cameras or cell phones were make video, if they can see someone placing packages at the points where the bombs
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went off. they're analyzing the pieces now. they will try to get what you might call a signature of the twice to see if it's similar to other devices here or oversees, but their initial take on looki the buildings, injuries, pictures of the explosion, they zwrieb the devices as thankfully crude with less power than might have been contained in something of that size. >> on that point, on the nature of these explosives, obviously those of us who are watching this footage over and over again of a bomb going off in a civilian environment, it looks huge, but can we get a perspective on the size and power of the bomb? how we might compare to to those in a war zone, ieds or military
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ordnance? >> that's the analysis going on now. the people i've talked to who are doing that seat of the pants comparison say it's not huge. of course, it does look huge. over 100 people injured, that seems frightening. it is, but they were right around it, they were very close to it, crowded around, which you assume is the reason the devices were placed there. it does seem they were intended to cause a maximum amount of casualties, injuries and deaths. where they were placed, when they were placed, and how they were constructed with the additional shrapnel to amp up the injuries. >> pete, over the course of the day, obviously you get a lot of conflicting reports, some of which are not true, but we heard at least some tentative reports about the strategic placement of
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the devices, whether they might have been put in trash cans or mailboxes or parcels leaned up against the building. do we have anything firm on that? >> no. we're still waiting to hear more about that. the best information i have was they were placed in backpacks. but beyond that, leaning up against buildings, inside doors, in trash cans, i just don't know. >> okay. but, pete, one last question for you in terms of what we're able to reverse engineer on what happened based on the evidence from the explosives, is there anything in terms of either pattern or association with different types of extremist groups or loan wolf previous events that is suggested by this pattern of multiple explosive devices seeming to be of sort of similar caliber, timed to go off
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simultaneously, but not all of them do. is that the signature or kind of evidence that we might compare this to? >> yeah. we have to be careful saying others didn't go off. our best information as of 9:22 is there were only two. no others that were intended to go off and didn't. one thing you touch on is a critical point. were they on a time center were they on some kind of remote debt nay or? was there a cell phone call or someone pressing a button? they don't know the answers to those questions. two points about that, one is that may give them a clue in terms of how, where all that sort of thing, but the other problem with this, is that unfortunately there is a lot of this bomb-making introduction on the internet. it all says the same thing, if
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you want maximum saushlties, put them at soft targets, where people are known to be. the united states has been relatively luckily free of this sort of thing. but that's a key question. one other point that i should probably mention here, rachel, there is no advisory tonight from the department of homeland security urging other cities to take precautions. and the reason for that is, that in this day and age, they don't just turn up the -- the next signal on the chart unless they have specific intelligence that indicates they should cothat. we're told there isn't any. there's nothing to suggest this is part of a larger plot or other cities targeted. indeed we're told there was no credible intelligence running up to this event today indicating that boston would be a target. >> double edged sword. it's good to here no subsequent
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targets, on the other hand, there was none that have intelligence lead up to it either. pete williams, we will be checking in with you again. thank you. good to have your reporting. i'm live at massachusetts general hospital, if you're hearing ambient notice and seeing things going on behind me, this is a response to today's events. i want to bring in jeff, who works for nbc companies. he was a runner quite nearby when the explosions happened. thanks for being with us, appreciate your time. >> no problem. my thoughts and prayers with the victims and their families right now. >> as are all of ours. absolutely. can you describe for us where you were and what you experienced when the explosions happened? >> i just turned down boylston street, and i about a third of a
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mile to go. i was trying to break four hour in the marathon and i had about two or three minutes when i got a leg cramp. you know, if not for my desire for four miles -- for four hours, i -- i probably would have stopped and kind of walked to the finish line. but i said i'm going to power through and try and go as fast as i can. i crossed the finish line, and within five seconds, i heard a huge boom. didn't really know what that was. all the day at the marathon you see band and drums and music, a lot of noise all day. to so to hear a loud noise, i didn't think all that much of it, but i turned around and saw a huge mushroom of smoke. immediately i knew it was something serious. about ten seconds later, i heard
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a second boom. and clearly, i knew at that point, you know, it was a serious situation. you know, the volunteers did a fantastic job of getting the runners away. you know, i immediately started walking back. my family -- i didn't know where they were. i had seen them earlier, about mile 16, fortunately for me they got stuck in traffic on the way back. their plan was to be sitting near the finish line. i saw one of my colleagues sitting near the finish line. obviously i was very concerned for her. and then it was mayhem. i didn't have my cell phone. the volunteers were incredible, offered up -- saying anyone needs a cell phone. but the problem was you, you know, the lines were all, you know, everyone was trying make a call at the same time. finally i did get through to my
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wife and kids, and, you know, fortunately for me and my family, they were okay. >> jeff, in terms of your perspective as a runner and came through that area, was there anything that you could tell in terms of just the number of people that were in the area that seemed to be where the initial -- where the two blasts were concentrated, how deep were the crowds there? >> very, very deep. 10, 15, 20 people deep. you turn down boylston street, and i equate it to someone's announcing nor name for the starting lineup of the super bowl. it's the last third of a mile, thousands and thousands of people. many runners have their name on their shirts, a personal feeling, screaming your name. at least 15, 20 deep. and as i was looking for my wife and kids, there were so many people, there was no way i could
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have spotted them. so -- you know, thousands. >> jeff, who's vp of sales and marketing for nbc universal sports never expected to be on tv discussing this. glad you're okay. thanks for being with us. all right, if you watched this video from boston globe reporter steve silva, you can see that he hears the explosions and he starts running not away, but toward the chaos. and if you stay with it, within two minutes, race volunteers from the boston marathon are pulling back the barricades and reaching the people affected. and police officers are flooding into the scene with regular folks and guys in camouflage. i'm not suggesting you should run toward danger, but that's what hundreds of police and fire fighters did. among the many, many first
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responders were state police and fbi agents and national guard and atf agents, so many people reaching for the cell phones, sprint and ve rye swron asked customers to please send text messages instead of calling so they could free up space on their networks. the national hockey league cancelled the game between the ottawa senators and bruins. it's all so police can concentrate on the aftermath in boston. who in boston feels like playing anything at this moment? the boston police department put out a call today for video of the finish line. any civilians who may have been taking video in fact area. peel did respond to the call from the police. police asked people to go home, not to stand around in large crowds. then they cordoned off streets in the immediate area. subway line is closed, with hotels evacuated, it was not
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clear that marathon runners from out of town would have a place to sleep. one of the remarkable things today is seeing the people of greater boston starting to post offers of shelter on message boards. extra bed and couches to sleep four to five plus floor space. i will come pick up anyone who needs a place to stay, i will do whatever i can. so much of the response makes sense in a that's what humans do kind of way. this attracts elite runners from around the world. you need to have finished in just over three hours to qualify, they usually have an after race party, that's cancelled. we have reports of runners continuing to run the final mile and half to the hospital so they could give blood if that's what needed. because that's what
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borderline-hero humans try to do. the red cross website crashed, and tweeted they had plenty of blood and thank you and please make an appointment in the future to come back. today is a holiday in all of massachusetts, and especially in boston. bostons missouri barnacles will be joining us. the patriot's day with schools and government officers closed, it's a red sox day, the red sox play a morning game at fenway park in boston. joining us now, i'd love to bring into the discussion is mike barnacle, long time sports writer, msnbc contributor who was at the game today. >> i was. >> this is one of the strangest days in history, patriot's day alienates the rest of the country anyone, it's a boston only holiday. >> tough day, hard day.
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a community day, a community of interest, people from all around the world come here, as you indicated the red sox play at 11:00 a.m. it concludes, depending on the length of the game as the stralg of marathoners come down to the finish line. 35,000 people in fenway park, hundreds of thousands along the marathon route and on boylston street. it's a school holiday, school vacation week, people standing there ready to cheer on their relatives, their friends, their wives, their husbands, significant others who are running for causes as dispa at as cancer, muscular dismetro fee. and it's a small city, small downtown, walkable city. i talked to one particular young man, a hour, andrew, eyewitness,
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he was standing in front of a department store, and the finish line was perhaps 75 yards to his right. and he was waiting there for his girlfriend to finish the marathon. he heard one explosion down at the finish line, 75 yards to his right. he estimates 15 to 20 seconds later, a second explosion about 25 yards to his left. low level explosions, number of -- number of the injured suffered leg wounds, amputations, horrific physical damage to them. this is a two block area, perhaps 100 yards long. and on this particular day, as happens every patriot's day, again as we indicated, people from all over the world, a kenyan and ethiopian were the first two finishers in the marathon, people from all over the united states run, they arrive with extended families who wait innocently and joyo
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joyously, and what was once a joyous scene is tonight a murder scene. >> you came through the city tonight to come down, and been out in the city since this happened, it does not feel like boston in a way. >> no. it's -- there's a solemnness, obviously, to the city this evening. the city is pretty much -- large areas of the downtown shut down. >> yeah. >> difficult to travel by car. but there's a resiliency in the air that you would sense not only in boston, any place, in the berkshires, in northern california, in dallas, texas, and it is this, i think, in that the objective of these bombings today were to instill fear in people, to instill such fear in them that they would not commune together, not gather together, they would be afraid to go out of their apartments and their
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homes. not here, not this time, not in this country. the sun will rise tomorrow, people will get up, go to work, slap each other on the back and go forward. that's who we are as americans. >> one of the things about boston public safety and boston security is the whole country knows in a way about the closeness of the boston pd and fbi in terms of totally unrelated measures, the most famous cases in the country, we have heard about the joint terrorism task force and atf and federal authorities coming in to work together. in your sense about how boston public safety works, is this the sort of thing where the city will take the lead, do you think there will be a seamless integration? >> i'm led to believe, and talking to several people in the past few hours, the integration has taken place.
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the fbi is running it. the atf has a pretty solid forensic hand print on the contour and the makeup of the explosive devices. they have at least one, perhaps a couple of them. so that would provide enormous leads, i would think. interagency jealousies, they will always exist, but not on this. >> mike, thank you for being here. we will check back in with you. mike an long time boston journalist. we are at the hospital in downtown boston, and we've got more ahead on the aftermath of the bombings at the boston marathons, we'll be right back. oh, he's a fighter alright.
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joining me tonight from massachusetts general hospital in boston, thanks for being with us on msnbc, an earlier press conference, the governor of massachusetts stressed that the site of today's bombings at the boston marathon are still an active crime scene. he said that federal, state and local officials are on the scene, but that the fbi is leading the investigation at this hour. the governor speaking, of course, about the two large explosions seconds apart that tore through the city today, 2:50 p.m. this afternoon on a day when half a million people had poured into boston to take part in and to watch the city's annual marathon. the first sploigs hit as runners approached the finish line, the second between ten and 20 seconds later about 1700 yards away from the first. as of this evening, authorities say that three people have died, including an 8-year-old boy.
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more than 113 people have been injured in these blasts, several people sustained critical injuries. at least a dozen of the injure ready children. witnesses describing a horrific scene, some of the injured lost limbs, what million professionals call traumatic amputation. there is new information, beth italy, 21 patients, 7 with life threatening injuries, three others reporting having more than 20 patients on scene, boston children's hospital reports 10 patients from the attack today including a 14-year-old with a head injury and a 2-year-old boy also with a head injury sent to surgical icu. it has been reported tonight that two more twices were found near the scene of the initial explosions. two more devices, that is the number reported this evening. as we spoke with pete williams
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earlier, he stressed caution about whether they should be seen as similar to the ones that explode. we shouldn't characterize them as unexploded bombs of the type that did explode near the finish line of the boston marathon. law enforcement officials did carry out one controlled ploegs an hour after the bombings. that usually means there were more devices but for one reason or another did not, so police detonated those. so some of the things that police may have detonated may not have been bombs. the one that achieved the most notice happened roughly 4:00 p.m. this afternoon. three hotels were evacuated today because of reports of suspicious packages. the marriott hotel and lenox hotel, and flights in and out of boston were grounded for a time following the attack welcomes and the air space over
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washington, d.c. was closed for a time. that has reopened as have now the boston airports. also today what could just be a bizarre coincidence, there was a fire and sploeks explosion at the john f. kennedy presidential library in boston than. that happened after 3:00 p.m. this afternoon. there was a large hole through the building. conflicting reports about whether this incident, about a 15 minute drive from the scene of the explosions at the finish line, conflict reports on whether they believed them to be related. latest word is the jfk incident and the marathon may not have been related at all. it may have been a fire at the library that was unrelated to what was happening 15 minutes away by distance at almost the same time. at this hour, law enforcement officials tell us there have been no arrests, no identified suspects in the attack.
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this evening president obama addressed that lack of information in his comments about the bombings. make no mistake, will get to the bottom of this, and we will find out who did this, we'll find out why they did this. any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice. >> the president during his comments did not refer to the explosions today as terrorism or as an act of terror, but shortly after he finished speaking, a white house said any event with multiple explosive devices is clearly an act of terror and will be approached like that. i want to bring in cary sanders joining us from boylston street. as close as we can be to the scene. what can you tell us about what police are doing on scene and how that site is being treated.
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>> right now, beyond just this location, the authorities have deployed teams of officers that are looking in every abandoned spot to see if there is something else out there. they're getting multiple calls, everything looks suspicious. that is just fine, they want to check every single thing out on the off possibility there may yet be an unexploded device planted in and around thety. police have put all the officers on of a from bravo shifts, 12 hours, and then another 12 hour shift. everybody in or out of uniform is working over the next 24 hours. that will continue for the coming days. now for those who live and work in and around this city, the governor said this it will not be business as usual. part of that will be just getting around. traveling on the t, the subway and the streetcar system here will be much slower for passengers because many of those officers are going to be looking in backpacks, looking in
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parcels, anything that people are carrying just to make sure there is nothing that is going to be in an area that could be a problem. interestingly, as all of this has developed here, the police commissioner who is really now tapping into the intelligence network that he has in this city calls this act a cowardly act. if it is a single individual, intelligence analysts say it will be perhaps a little more difficult track down that person unless they raise their hand in some way. if it is a network of people, analysts say it will be slightly easier because likely somebody will say something and word will get out. the officers in the intelligence network here are now tapping every source that they have, every considerable informant that they have to try to find out if there is a piece of information,ing? that may not have appeared to, important, but connects back to the people or person responsible
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for what happened here in boston. as an aside, it's been very interesting that when the explosion happened, and then the second one followed, i'm originally from boston, my niece was here, she's a short distance away, she felt the explosion, called my brother, got me on the phone, she said she could feel it vibrating, we weren't able to talk in a few minutes because the phone system was overwhelmed when people realized what happened. one person said when it happened they were a good distance way, they could seat vibration in the water on their glass wondering what was going on. most of the communication now is back, but a lot of people in the initial hours were getting word out to loved ones, texting, on facebook, google people finder, putting up twitter accounts, those folks who have been unable
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to reach loved ones, it's a matter of their problems. the system sitz up and working. think about this, 26,000 plus runners, 96 countries, word went out on the internet almost immediately, and people from all over the world started calling to find out, are you okay? a very, very complicated and tragic night in a stay city that you and i both love. >> absolutely. thank you so much. we're going to be checking back in with you. nbc news's correspondent is on the scene at boylston street. we have just received new video that we have not shown before. new video from aptn that clearly shows the second blast. we have been able to see the first blast on the video today, but looking at the second blast. i want to bring in now michael lighter, ms nbc news security analyst, former director of the national counterterrorism
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center. thanks very much for being with us, i appreciate having your expertise to tap this evening. >> good to be here, rachel. >> can you give us, i guess any sense of context for understanding how sophisticated, how big these types of bombs were compared to the other types of explosive devices that are used in attacks around the world. can you give us understanding of the size? >> it's difficult to estimate but something like a suitcase or medium backpack could carry 50 pounds of explosives and provide a lot of damage for a radius of 150 feet out. they look like they are smaller than that, which would fit with the description they might have been backpacks. as pete williams noted, what we don't see is significant damage
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to the structures around where the bomb appeared to be. this is clearly not what we have seen in places like pakistan or what we saw in the merrill building with timothy mcveigh where a truck bomb, van bomb does tremendous damage to buildings. my guess is we are looking at smaller backpack size in terms of sophistication, it's difficult to say, but clearly they are reporting about items in there like ball bearings, b.b.s, a very good indication they were clearly intended to maim and kill. >> is bombs of that size and of what we know of the description about what was there, as you mentioned in terms of what seems to be deliberate shrapnel, to build something like that, does it take expert knowledge or is that the kind of thing people can find easily available public sources? >> regrettably, it is much easier to find information on
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this than officials and the public would like. if you get online, not all the reports on the internet are perfect. with any sort of comfort with chemicals, access to things like nitrogen based fertilizer, an individual who a relatively handy can make these bombs. that can be dangerous for the bomb maker. they are thot always successful as we saw in 2010 with the times square bomber. there's an individual who is trained, he bought the wrong materials and the bomb fizzled. we saw with the underwear bomber, a relatively sophisticated bomb that didn't go off. it is not perfect or easy. with hydrogen peroxide explosives or fertilizer, anyone who is remotely handy can make bombs like this.
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>> what would you expect to be the first thing the fbi would be doing in starting the investigation into an attack like this? >> regrettably, this sort of situation is one that the u.s. government and state and local governments had to deal with before. it is one that they are actually very well trained in doing this sort of thing. in fact, in march of 2011, my organization, the national counterterrorism with homeland security did an exercise with the city of boston to prepare for an event like this. what the fbi will do is the fbi, all federal agencies in boston and state authorities in massachusetts, they are going to do a couple things. one, people talk about the forensic examination of the site. they are going to go back and talk with all their sources. they will talk with sensitive
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intelligent sources. everyone in the federal government will coordinate with the fbi, but looking overseas and domestically in telephone communications, all trying to piece together to see things they had that were previously innocent or new information about people who might be talking about this attack. it will take a little time. over the next 12 to 24 hours, we'll get forensic information about the bombs. from there, it will piece together. the video tape from the scene, license plates of cars in the area. all of this enormous data will be used to combine a holistic picture. i expect in the coming days, we'll have a better sense of who is behind this. >> michael lighter, we are lucky to be able to talk to you tonight. thank you for joining us. >> thank you, rachel. massachusetts is about to have a senate election.
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john kerry gave up his senate seat in order to be secretary of state. the race to fill his seat included somebody running in the marathon today. gabriel gomez crossed the finish line within minutes of the explosion. joining us now is will ritter, the press secretary arranging a party for mr. gomez when he heard the blasts going off. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> where were you? >> i was at the corner. we were going to have a press conference, we were going to talk to the media. we were assembling the media. >> he already cleared the finish line? >> he had, fortunately ten minutes earlier. he heard the blasts and turned and saw the smoke from boston public library 100 feet away. >> in terms of the scene and how people reacted, most people's instinct is to run away.
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people who are trained or know they have something to offer will run toward the scene, how did that balance out? >> that was scary there. where i was, where the friends and family meet up with the 26,000 people crossing the finish line, you have a lot of fathers jumping the barricades. you have police and fire jumping to get to the explosion. you have a great mass of people running east toward boston garden, boston common public gardens. it was a lot of chaos. >> the chaos in terms of people trying to figure out where to go must have been magnified by the second explosion. >> it went off. we have a lot of cannon blasts in boston. the second one, you hear people yell things like bomb and running. at that time, you know, we just kind of dispursed. i live a block away on the other side. i ran back to my apartment to
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make sure my sister and girlfriend were okay. >> how is gabriel? >> he's all right. he was shaken up. he got with his wife and kids and he's home with his family safe. >> this is a day when all politics is suspended except for -- in massachusetts, the different people who are vying for the senate seat have to make a decision about how to contribute now. gabriel gomez is not a public official, but vying to be one. ed marky on the democratic side. everybody is suspending campaign. is there a way that you can do more help than otherwise? >> i think we have asked people to give blood. we haven't put anything on the schedule. that's the important thing. the victims, i mean where the finish line, where the bombs went off, whoever was trying to make a political point need to
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realize, they were children clapping for their moms and dads. they created havoc. it's the farther thing from our mind. our hearts go out to the victims. >> on the day that is more boston than any other day. i'm glad you are all right. >> thanks, rachel. >> appreciate it. will ritter is the press secretary for gabriel gomez, who did finish the race today and is fine. all right, we showed video earlier on of the first explosion at the end of the boston marathon. we have now since received video and play video of the second explosion at the boston marathon. the latest reports show police and law enforcement are treating it as an active crime scene. this is an active and open investigation. federal law enforcement and local law enforcement are working together. being out in boston, i'm at
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massachusetts general, mass general hospital, it doesn't feel like the boston you know. if you have ever been to boston before, it's a very serious night. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. in the boston marathon, the moment when boylston street has the largest number of runners crossing the finish line at once happens two hours after that start. today when it was most crowded with runners, two hours after a woman from ethiopia won the marathon, this happened.